A Taste of Cuba

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • Reviews
  • Dates
  • Exodus

A lively cultural week featuring the Island's must-see highlights and traditional homestays

Beginning and ending in the vibrant city of Havana, this trip visits four UNESCO World Heritage Sites in one week. The Vinales Valley, Old Havana and the colourful colonial towns of Cienfuegos and Trinidad. Along the way discover Cuba's fascinating history, learn how to dance Cuban salsa like a local and have a go at making the perfect mojito! 

Highlights
* Learn to dance salsa in Trinidad * Visit to a tobacco farm and walk through tobacco plantations in the UNESCO Vinales Valley * Spend four nights in Cuban guesthouses * Three nights staying in a hotel in Havana * Visit Topes de Collantes National Park  * Cuban Tourist Cards included for all UK residents
Profile
* 4 nights Casas Particulares and 3 nights hotels  * Travel by comfortable air-conditioned private coach * Some long journeys
Food

All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 dinners included. Cuba is not renowned for its culinary excellence and some ingredients are just not possible to get hold of (due in no small part to the long trade embargo implemented by the US). As such, flavours tend to be relatively simple, with most mealtimes consisting of meat or fish accompanied by rice and salad/vegetables. Seafood is widely available on the coast, including cheap and abundant lobster! Vegetarians will probably find they have the most limited choice. Snack food is not freely available in Cuba so you may wish to consider taking some with you. Paladares are likely to be a highlight of any visit to Cuba - they are one of the few types of private enterprise allowed (although still heavily regulated), where families or entrepreneurs are allowed to set up a restaurant. The atmosphere this creates and opportunity to integrate with local Cubans will no doubt enhance your stay! We recommend that you allow CUC 30 pp per day for the lunches and evening meals on the days where food is not included. Drinking water will be provided on the coach. Please bring your own refillable water bottles.

Destinations
  • Central America
  • Cuba
  • Vinales
  • Havana
  • North America
Tour Types
  • Cultural
  • Natural Wonders
Day 1

The group flight arrives in the afternoon and we transfer to our hotel in the Miramar district of Havana. *Standard Hotel*



Day 2

Today we travel to Vinales Valley, in the west of Cuba. Famous for its rolling tobacco plantations and collection of limestone karsts dotted along the valley, it's not hard to see why Vinales was awarded UNESCO World Heritage site status. Joined by a local resident we walk through the 'Valley of Silence' to soak up rural Cuban life as farmers tend to their crops using traditional farming methods. We'll also visit a tobacco farm to learn about one of the island's most famous exports and meet with a local tobacco farmer to help understand the growing process. After checking into our overnight accommodation in Casa Particulares, we visit an organic farm in the hills of Viñales for a sunset dinner overlooking the valley. *Casas Particulares *



Day 3

This morning we set off on a long drive eastward to Cienfuegos. We stop for lunch at the Bay of Pigs at a small beachfront restaurant with a large Cuban welcome. The speciality here is fresh fish caught by local fisherman just off the coast. Time permitting, you can enjoy a refreshing dip in the sea. This region of the Zapata Peninsula is a National Park and swamp providing a habitat for some of the most important bird species in Cuba. We are joined by a local nature expert who will introduce us to the natural landscape and characteristics of the area. We will also have some time to explore the Giron Museum, which exhibits items from the failed invasion by CIA-backed Cuban Americans. Afterwards we will carry on our transfer to Cienfuegos. The city of Cienfuegos is full of architectural delights and Cuban spirit, with a beautiful main square and restored buildings. One of the best ways to get around is by Bici Taxi, a fun tour using Cuba’s eco-friendly and typical city transport. Each Bici Taxi can accommodate two people and will be pedalled by a local resident (most of whom like to introduce their guests to reggaeton music!) The Bici Taxi tour is a great time to talk to local Cienfuegos residents and have a go at practising your Spanish. Afterwards we check into our casas for the night. There are some great paladares in town and the 'malecon' is usually a lively place to soak up the atmosphere with locals. Today's travel time is approx. 7 hours. *Casas Particulares*



Day 4

This morning we depart Cienfuegos and drive down the coast to Trinidad, stopping at La Vega community en route.  During our visit we’ll discover some of the communal services such as the ration shop, a farm and a medical facility. Trinidad has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1988 and is perhaps the best-preserved colonial town on the island. Exploring Trinidad can feel like entering a time warp, its colourful, cobbled streets and horse drawn transportation whisking us back. There are many interesting museums housed in old colonial buildings and music drifts through the streets and plazas, bringing the town to life. We have a walking tour with a local resident who will give us an insider perspective of what it’s like to live in Trinidad, before visiting the Santander Family and their artisan pottery workshop. There will be the opportunity to have a go under the direction of this skilled Cuban family. We'll stay overnight in charming Casa Particulares, private Bed and Breakfast accommodation in local Cuban houses. Our dinner this evening will be at a private paladar where a local collective of musicians will perform interpretations of classic Cuban trova songs. This is sure to be a lively evening and a wonderful opportunity to enjoy Cuban music with its distinct rhythms. *Casas Particulares *



Day 5

Today we visit Topes de Collantes National Park in the Escambray Mountains, with its stunning waterfalls, nature and scenery. We are joined by a local Cuban who will teach us about the ecology of the national park and lead us on a short walk to a viewpoint with wonderful views. Afterwards we have an authentic Cuban lunch prepared for us. Back in Trinidad we meet a Cuban barman who is an expert at making the perfect mojito! They will give a mojito making lesson and everyone in the group will have a go at mixing their own in the authentic Cuban way. Afterwards we’ll take part in a salsa class with Cuban dance partners. There will be one dance partner for each member of the group, to assist with teaching the correct salsa moves. Trinidad is known for its nightlife, so after we’ve learnt the basics of salsa we’ll go to the town’s ‘Casa de la Trova’ live music venue to listen to local musicians playing authentic Cuban music. This venue is always lively and sociable, with plenty of local Cuban’s keen to let us practice our dancing with them!  *Casa Particulares*



Day 6

As we have a long transfer today, we will bring packed lunches with us from the hotel. Leaving Trinidad we head to Manaca Iznaga, where we learn about the sugar growing history surrounding the Valle de los Ingenios, a hugely important industry for Cuba during the 18th and 19th centuries. There is an artisanal market to wander around which showcases typical handmade crafts in the region, and in nearby Condado we’ll visit the homes of two Cubans who make textiles and produce honey for the Manaca Iznaga Artisan Market. Our next stop is Santa Clara, the site of the last battle of the Cuban Revolution in December 1958, just before Fidel Castro took Havana. Che Guevara and his troops ambushed an armoured train carrying arms to Santiago de Cuba and this was a major turning point in the Revolution. We visit the Mausoleum of Che Guevara and his comrades who died in Bolivia before driving back to Havana for dinner at a private paladar. Today's travel time is approx. 5 hours *Standard Hotel*



Day 7

This morning we set off for a walking tour of old and new Havana, Cuba's capital and the largest city in the Caribbean. Havana is a busy, bustling, energetic capital. The area of Old Havana is often described as a living museum, with its marvellous monuments, cathedrals and palaces. This is the finest surviving Spanish colonial complex in the Americas. Preserved by a combination of minimal war damage, post-revolution restoration work and the millions of dollars invested since it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982. During our tour we visit a ration store, food market and artisan market. There is no better way to see Havana than by classic car, and so in the early evening we continue our tour of the capital in style, travelling in immaculately looked after classic cars in vibrant colours. Visiting both the old and new areas of the city, we discover the distinct neighbourhoods of the capital, stopping at points of interest for explanations and stories. Feel free to ask questions about why the streets of Cuba are filled with classic American cars manufactured in the 1950’s and how on earth the owners manage to maintain them! *Standard Hotel*



Day 8

This morning is free to relax or do some last-minute sightseeing in Havana's old town before those on group flights transfer to the airport in the afternoon.



Day 9

**



* All breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners * All accommodation * All transport and listed activities * Tour leader throughout * Flights from London (if booking incl. flights) * Arrival and departure transfers (if booking incl. flights) * Tourist card visa for UK residents


A fantastic whistle-stop tour

A great week - lots of different aspects of Cuba, really enjoyable, very informative and a lot of fun. There is a lot of travel involved however it gave us all a good insight into some of the life in a different and fascinating country. Very hospitable hosts in the Casals Particulares.

Rating: 5




Taste of Cuba

Hugely enjoyed this tour..... truly was an adventure. We were introduced to an extraordinary peoples and culture....our guide was exemplary. I luved every moment and and am extremely keen to return. 'The Taste of Cuba' filled every moment with fascination and surprise. Everywhere very comfortable and safe but with a sense of how challenging it is for the locals...

Rating: 5




More than just cocktails!

A fantastic introduction to Cuba, its culture, history, music, dancing (and cocktails!)

Rating: 5




A Taste of Cuba

A fantastic glimpse of Cuba with an excellent mix of sightseeing, music, free-time to further explore, and fun activities.

Rating: 5




Does exactly what it says on the tin!

The title of this trip is exactly what it suggests. It offers a real taste of Cuba and the itinerary, although packed, is perfect. Not rushing from place to place and plenty of free time to explore by yourself.

Rating: 5




A taste of Cuba

A good week. Being on a tour sliced through the hassle of organisation and was a great queuebuster when visiting museums and events. Great variety of things to see and do in a very colourful varied interesting country

Rating: 4




taste of cuba

superb tour with what must be the best 'guide' we have ever had Rayselis, her knowledge, sense of commitment and humour made the tour more wonderful than it was.

Rating: 5




A Taste of Cuba

An apt name for the trip, it gave a taster of several parts of Cuba

Rating: 4




Taste of Cuba

Not a holiday, more of an education, as expected. Cuba is gradually coming out of sanctions but the scars are still everywhere. The country is not ready for the growing number of western tourists starting to come.

Rating: 4




Taste of Cuba

Very enjoyable holiday. I loved all the history of Cuba and understanding current affairs.

Rating: 4



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You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.

Dates Price Single Availability
25-Jul-2019 for 8 Nights Flight inclusive adult Flight Included Visit Website
25-Jul-2019 for 7 Nights Land only Visit Website
24-Oct-2019 for 8 Nights Flight inclusive adult Flight Included Visit Website
24-Oct-2019 for 7 Nights Land only Visit Website
14-Nov-2019 for 8 Nights Flight inclusive adult Flight Included Visit Website
14-Nov-2019 for 7 Nights Land only Visit Website
22-Dec-2019 for 8 Nights Flight inclusive adult Flight Included Visit Website
22-Dec-2019 for 7 Nights Land only Visit Website

Touring with Exodus

Exodus is an award-winning company built on adventures. It started life on 4 February 1974 when two friends got together to provide an overland truck to travel to the Minaret of Jam, deep in the heart of the Hindu Kush, the most inaccessible of the world’s great monuments. They continue to discover countries, cultures, environments, cities, mountain ranges, deserts, coasts and jungles - exploring this amazing planet we all live on.

At Exodus, they know what makes you tick when it comes to holidays. It’s a desire shared by so many others. A yearning to visit new places and come home with a real sense of what they’re all about. This means delving into local traditions, cultures, cuisine, lifestyles – anything that contributes to its unique identity. At the same time, they always remember that they are only guests. So they ensure they travel courteously and respectfully, in smaller groups to minimise their impact, to ensure that every Exodus holiday is a beneficial experience for everyone involved. This is a philosophy they take around the world, helping you reach some incredible destinations on 500 itineraries across 90 countries – choose from walking, cycling, culture, wildlife and even polar adventures in guided groups or self-guided, tailor-made for you or a ready-made itinerary in Peru or India, Costa Rica or Italy – the choices are endless. They also strive to provide as much flexibility and choice as possible, making it simple for you to experience a very different holiday.

All staff at Exodus have a passion for travel and adventure with their combined experiences spanning 171 different countries and in their former lives, some team members have been professional archaeologists, wildlife guides, overland drivers, mountain leaders, diving and ski specialists and mountain bike gurus – all guaranteed to give you the very best adventure possible. Extensive planning, research, fact-finding and training are just some of the ways this expertise comes through in your adventure.

Exodus recognises their obligation to operate their tours in a responsible and sustainable fashion to address the environmental, economic and social impact tourism can have. They are committed to the well-being of the communities that host you and the natural environment that you are there to experience. Key points in their philosophy include small groups which have less impact on local communities and environments, putting money directly into the communities visited by using locally owned and run accommodation and eating locally produced food, ensuring local staff and operators receive a fair rate for their services, encouraging their own staff to take an active interest in responsible and sustainable tourism and train them accordingly, endeavour to ensure that their practices help in the environmental conservation of the areas visited and provide their clients with advice and guidelines on how to respect the social, cultural and religious beliefs of local communities.

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tour details

This tour is operated by Exodus

7 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Group Size:4 - 18
Difficulty:Leisurely
Meals:7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners.
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